Boy Dances Through Cancer Battle
Nine Year Old Performs In "Coppelia" Despite Going Through Chemotherapy Treatments
Samuel Miller Denton, 9, has battled Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia since he was twenty-two month old.
Dancing, particularly ballet is what Sammy yearns to do.
His mother, Kelly, said it’s also his inspiration.
“That’s his motivation. That’s what keeps him going,” said Denton.
Since Christmas Eve, he has had his eyes set on a performance in Sioux Falls this weekend.
“Coppelia,” the story about a doll come to life, took place at the Orpheum Theatre from Friday through Sunday.
However, his mother said an unexpected return to the hospital on December 30th nearly kept him from the stage.
“He thought it was done. Oh, can’t do it, can’t do that show. His little heart was just broken,” said Denton.
The show had to go on.
Sammy’s medical team at Sanford Children’s Hospital gave him a pass to go from the hospital to the Orpheum Theatre for the weekend.
With the dancing star a little down in the dumps, his doctors and nurses looked to give him a spark.
“They know how much it means to him so they said, “Let’s make this happen, maybe that will lift his spirits a little.” They’ll be amazed to hear how much it lifted his spirits,” said Denton.
Sammy is set to hit the stage in several roles for Coppelia.
However, due to health concerns, Jackie Pederson-Kriens, owner and director of the Dance Gallery, has a back-up plan for him in case his strength isn’t there yet.
Regardless of the circumstance, Pederson-Kriens said they know giving Sammy a role, big or small, makes him happy.
“As a community, the Dance Gallery community, everybody has sort of taken a position of we are going to make sure this kid does everything he can to heal and this is part of it. That’s getting him on the stage to perform,” said Denton.
Denton said they believe Sammy’s performance in Coppelia this weekend will go a long way towards his long cancer fight.
“For him to bounce back this hard, this high, unexpected, totally unexpected. We’re giving him the benefit of the doubt and encouraging him, let’s go let’s go!” said Denton.
Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page to support Sammy and his family.
The link can be found here.
Sammy and the crew of Coppelia will have their last performance Sunday at 2 p.m.